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What is salmonella infection? Salmonella are bacteria that can make you sick if they get into your mouth. The bacteria are spread from the feces of infected people and animals to others by the fecal-oral route.


  • Salmonella Fact SheetSalmonella Fact Sheet (PDF 301KB)
    View, download and print the Salmonella Fact Sheet. Salmonella are bacteria that can make you sick if they get into your mouth. They cause fever, headache, diarrhea, cramps, nausea and loss of appetite, and sometimes vomiting.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Infectious Disease Control Team:

  • 519-663-5317 Ext. 2330

What are the Symptoms?

The sickness starts about 6 to 72 hours after the Salmonella get into your mouth. You might be sick for about seven days or for several weeks. Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • diarrhea (sometimes with blood in it)
  • cramps
  • nausea and loss of appetite
  • vomiting sometimes

See a doctor if you think you are sick from Salmonella. Ask that your diarrhea be tested for Salmonella.

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Do I need treatment?

Salmonella infection does not need to be treated most of the time. Medicines may make it harder for your body to get rid of Salmonella. Do not take medicines to stop the diarrhea. Drink fluids, like water and juice, to replace the lost fluids.

Babies and people who have problems fighting disease may need to be treated.

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Where does Salmonella come from? How is it spread?

The most common cause of infection with Salmonella bacteria is eating contaminated foods. These could include raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, eggs, raw milk and raw milk products, raw fruits and vegetables and their juices.

Salmonella can be spread to people through contact with infected animals, including birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, pocket pets (rodents, hedgehogs), livestock, dogs, cats, their food and their environment.

Salmonella can be found in oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and in water supplies. Travelers to warm climates and developing countries can get Salmonella.


People with Salmonella in their intestines can spread it to others when they handle or prepare food.

Do not prepare food for others if you have Salmonella.

Salmonella can be spread by:

  • Food handlers with improper food handling, poor hand washing and personal hygiene
  • Infants and toddlers, who are not toilet trained, to their family members, caregivers and playmates
  • People who do not get sick or show symptoms but carry the bacteria in their intestines
  • People with poor bowel control to their environment in homes and hospitals

Salmonella is not spread by coughing, kissing, or through normal, everyday contact with neighbors or friends.

If you are employed as a food handler or a health care worker, go home or stay home. Report your symptoms to your manager. Contact your health care provider for stool testing.

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How can I prevent Salmonella infection?


Wash your hands well and follow The Six Steps to Good Handwashing (PDF 96KB) or use an alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Before preparing food
  • After using the toilet, helping others toilet, or changing soiled diapers
  • After touching animals and pets, pet food, treats and toys, and cleaning up after your pet

Good hand washing is the best way to not get Salmonella.


Safe Food Handling

Foods that are contaminated with Salmonella bacteria do not look or smell bad. Follow Food Safety at Home and use these four simple steps to Be Food Safe.


  • Wash your hands before preparing food, and wash often while you are making it.
  • Wash your hands after handling raw eggs
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under clean, cold, running water before cooking or eating.
  • Clean, and then sanitize cutting boards, utensils, and countertops after preparing raw meat, poultry, egg products and raw vegetables.
    • Sanitize with a mild bleach and water solution: mix 1 ml (¼ teaspoon) of unscented household bleach into 500 ml (2 cups) of water.
    • Let the sanitized surface air-dry.


  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and their juices away from other food items while shopping, during storage in the refrigerator
  • When preparing food, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and raw eggs away from food that won’t be cooked. Use separate utensils for raw and cooked foods.


  • Cook all meat, fish and poultry to safe temperatures. Use a food thermometer.
    • Cook whole poultry to 82oC/180oF
    • Cook food mixtures that includes poultry, egg, meat, fish to 74°C/165°F
    • Cook poultry (other than whole poultry) and ground poultry to 74°C/165°F
    • Cook pork, pork products, ground meat that does not contain poultry to 71°C/160°F
  • Keep hot foods hot above 60°C/140°F if not served right away.


  • Keep the fridge at 4°C (40°F) or below.
  • Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours.
  • Thaw food in the refrigerator, or under cold running water, or in the microwave just before cooking. Never thaw at room temperature.

Other Considerations

  • Use only pasteurized milk and foods made from pasteurized milk.
  • Use only pasteurized juice or apple cider.
  • Use only eggs that are graded, clean, and free of cracks.
  • Eat only foods that contain well cooked eggs. Homemade eggnog, mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, raw cookie dough, salad dressings, ice cream and mousses could have Salmonella from raw or lightly cooked egg.
  • Keep pets away from food storage and preparation areas.
  • Keep reptiles and turtles out of homes where there are infants, children 5 years old or less, elderly or people who have problems fighting disease.
  • Drink water from a safe supply. Lakes, streams, or other sources are untreated and may not be safe. Keep water out of your mouth while swimming in lakes or pools.

If you have a salmonella infection, you will be contacted by your local Public Health Department for follow-up.

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Date of creation: November 30, 2012
Last modified on: May 5, 2016


1Heymann, D. L. (Ed.). (2015). Control of communicable diseases manual (20th ed.). Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.
2Pickering, L.K. (Ed). (2012). Salmonella infections. In 2012 Red book: Report of the committee on infectious diseases (29th ed., pp. 635-640). Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
3Canadian Food Inspection Agency. (2016). Causes of Food Poisoning. Retrieved from Retrieved from
4Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education. Retrieved from
6Public Health Agency of Canada. (2015). Salmonella – Fact sheet. Retrieved from Retrieved from